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Article by Calvin R. Fremling and D. Kent Johnson regarding mayflies as biological indicators of water quality in areas of the Upper Mississippi River. Fremling and Johnson credited respectively as "Biology Department, Winona State University, Winona, Minnesota, 55987, USA," and "Metropolitan Waste Control Commission, St. Paul, Minnesota, 55101, USA." Abstract: "Hexagenia mayflies are good indicators of general water quality because they have long life cycles and because their burrowing nymphs, which are unable to tolerate anaerobic conditions or swim long distances, live in sediments where toxins tend to accumulate. While chemical tests only describe water quality in terms of specific parameters and times, Hexagenia distribution indicates synergistic effects of many toxins, anoxia and other stresses throughout the year. Over 1,400 collections of imagoes and subimagoes along the Upper Mississippi River in 1957-1968,1976 showed that most of the 29 navigation pools supported large populations, as did impoundments upstream of Minneapolis-St.Paul. Populations were non-existant or meager in Pool 2 and Lake Pepin, however, due to METRO pollution. Collections made in 1986 showed that recent pollution abatement measures have enabled Hexagenia to attain nuisance levels in the two areas, thus establishing that mayfly distribution can be utilized to assess the well-being of a river which is so large that it is difficult to monitor effectively or economically by standard methods." Article originally presented at the 5th International Ephemeroptera Conference and the 9th International Plecoptera Conference, Marysville, Australia, and printed in Mayflies and Stoneflies: Life Histories and Biology (collected conference proceedings, edited by Ian C. Campbell). 6 pages. Part of the Cal R. Fremling Collection.

Publication Date


Item Type





Winona, Minnesota


Biologists; Pollution; Upper Mississippi River Pool; Lake Pepin; Mayflies


Special Collections-Library



Rights Management

Requests to reproduce this image must be granted by the Winona County Historical Society.

Contributing Institution

Winona County History Center

Master File Format


Fiscal Sponsor

This project has been financed in part with funds provided by the State of Minnesota from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society.

Scanning Responsibility

Northern Micrographics

Date Digital

2019-06-24 00:00

Metadata Creation Responsibility

Anna Gaffey

Unique Identifier


Recurrence of hexagenia mayflies demonstrates improved water quality in Pool 2 and Lake Pepin, Upper Mississippi River



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